In a declaration to Germany’s lower house of parliament on last week’s terror attacks in Paris and underlining previous comments on the importance of national unity, Ms. Merkel said terrorist actions are probably the result of a certain interpretation of religion “that assumes being allowed to act, punish, kill on god’s behalf.”

“But for me, this is nothing but blasphemy. Terrorists’ actual motivation is in their conviction that they stand above others because they believe they are god’s representative, because they mean to have a historic mission, because they are convinced that they stand above others due to their faith, origin, descent, sex.”

In her speech, she also reiterated that Islam belongs to Germany—she has said her government is doing everything it can to ensure migrants successfully integrate into German society regardless of their religion. The comment has caused controversy in a country debating the threat of radical Islam and how willing some Muslims are to accept the rules of a largely secular culture.